Title: The Golden Lily
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Source: Purchased myself
The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series.
Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.
"Most people would find being led into an underground bunker on a stormy night scary. Not me."
In a Sentence
I enjoyed The Golden Lily even more than Bloodlines, and it left me eagerly anticipating book three!
After finishing Bloodlines, I immediately wanted to dive into The Golden Lily. I told myself that I should focus on reading the pile of books that I already owned, but I REALLY wanted to find out what happened next in Sydney's story. Considering that it was almost three in the morning and my self control is basically non-existent when I get tired, I ended up buying The Golden Lily e-book so I could read it the next day. And I did read it. All of it. In 24 hours. As much as I liked Bloodlines, I liked The Golden Lily even better!
In my review of Bloodlines last week, I mentioned how I really liked watching Sydney face her own flaws and imperfections. This continued in The Golden Lily. One of Sydney's biggest problems in this series is that she's had a series of strict, uncompromising beliefs instilled in her by her family and the Alchemists from day one. However, her work with the Moroi and dhampirs is starting to unravel all of those preconceived notions, and frankly, it kind of freaks her out. But instead of ignoring what's happening around her, Sydney takes EVERYTHING into consideration, and realizes that she might have been wrong in her previous attitude toward vampires. For Sydney, things are no longer so black and white, and for the entirety of The Golden Lily, she struggles with finding where to draw the line.
I was able to appreciate this struggle even more because of the severe consequences it held if Sydney's growing connection with the vampire world were to be discovered. The Alchemists are not exactly the forgiving type, and being deemed a "vampire sympathizer" is just about the worst crime she could commit. Knowing this, Sydney obviously struggles with her feelings towards the vampires in her life, but she doesn't just swear them off to save her own butt, even though that would probably be the easiest and most practical thing to do. Instead, Sydney frequently puts her life and career on the line because she realizes that, in spite of their differences, vampires like Adrian, Jill, and Eddie can be good people too.
As I've mentioned before, Sydney's life is not an easy one. She's expected to do everything perfectly, and perfection can be a hard thing to live up to. Furthermore, she walks that hard line between the human and vampire worlds: she can't completely fit in with her human friends at school because they have no idea who she really is, and she also can't fit in with her vampire friends because she's human. Yet both groups have high expectations of her, and frequently forget how difficult it is for her to navigate both worlds smoothly and without incident. This is one of the reasons why I think Sydney is able to connect with Adrian so much - because unlike most of the people in her life, he is able to truly understand her situation and her evolving beliefs and feelings.
Overall, The Golden Lily was definitely an enjoyable read for me. Well, it was, except for the ending, which kind of left me in a sea of emotions at four in the morning, when I finished it. It's not exactly a cliffhanger, but it has the potential to tug at your heartstrings. HARD. I only wish there wasn't such a long wait for the third book!